Minor Entities

Edited by Noel Saenz (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
About this topic
Summary Supposing that holes, reflections, shadows, absences and omissions (minor entities) exist, what is their nature? Are they concrete? If so, are they material or immaterial. Take holes. If they exist, they exist in space and time. After all, the hole in my doughnut persists and is certainly located. But it does not appear to be concrete since it is, it would seem, merely the absence of the doughnut material surrounding it. But do holes, reflections, shadows, etc. even exist? Everyday speak would seem to have it so. After all, we say things like 'There is a hole in my shirt' and 'in a fit of rage, so-and-so punched a hole in the wall'. We also attribute to things like wholes, shadows and reflection causal powers: my shirt is unwearable because it has too many holes; my shadow startled me in the middle of the night; my reflection in a funny mirror made me laugh. Should we take such talk literally?
Key works For some key works on the nature and existence of minor entities, see Lewis & Lewis 1970, Casati & Varzi 1994 and Sorensen 2008.
Introductions For a nice introduction on holes, see Casati & Varzi 2014. For a nice introduction on omissions, see Bernstein 2015. For a nice introduction on nothingness that touches on issues related to minor entities, see Sorensen 2008.
Related categories

141 found
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Material to categorize
  1. Hybrids to Fill Holes in Material Property Space.M. F. Ashby * - 2005 - Philosophical Magazine 85 (26-27):3235-3257.
  2. Shadows.M. C. Balfour - 1931 - New Blackfriars 12 (130):47-52.
  3. Impossible Cast Shadows in Ukyio-E Paintings.Roberto Casati - unknown
    A note on the interpretation of some seeming shadows in Japanese paintings.
  4. 12. Out of the Shadows Into Truth.William Christian - 1996 - In George Grant: A Biography. University of Toronto Press. pp. 168-186.
  5. 15. Escaping the Shadows.H. Donald Forbes - 2007 - In George Grant: A Guide to His Thought. University of Toronto Press. pp. 191-206.
  6. Shadows and Images: A Novel. By Meriol Trevor.John T. Ford C. S. C. - 2012 - Newman Studies Journal 9 (2):102-103.
  7. Shadows and Images: A Novel. By Meriol Trevor. [REVIEW]C. John T. Ford - 2012 - Newman Studies Journal 9 (2):102-103.
  8. Persons, Lines, and Shadows.John Kleinig - 1989 - Ethics 100 (1):108-115.
  9. Holes and Other Superficialities.David Lewis, Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (1):77.
  10. Epistemic “Holes” in Space-Time.John Byron Manchak - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (2):265-298.
    A number of models of general relativity seem to contain “holes” that are thought to be “physically unreasonable.” One seeks a condition to rule out these models. We examine a number of possibilities already in use. We then introduce a new condition: epistemic hole-freeness. Epistemic hole-freeness is not just a new condition—it is new in kind. In particular, it does not presuppose a distinction between space-times that are “physically reasonable” and those that are not.
  11. The Work in a Shadow.Andrzej Mencwel - 1997 - Archiwum Historii Filozofii I Myśli Społecznej 42.
  12. Shadow in Stone.Janice Mirikitani - forthcoming - Feminist Studies.
  13. The Shadow of the Absolute.E. Mueller Gustav - 1952 - Review of Metaphysics 6 (1):45 - 64.
  14. Holes in the Role Argument.Graham Nerlich - 1994 - In Dag Prawitz & Dag Westerståhl (eds.), Logic and Philosophy of Science in Uppsala. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 465--482.
  15. From Falsemakers to Negative Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2017 - Theoria 83 (1):53-77.
    I shall argue in this article that, if we need to admit of negative facts in our ontology as falsemakers of false propositions, then it is plausible to accept that there are also negative properties conceived of as modes. After having briefly recalled the falsemaker argument, I shall explore five different alternative interpretations of negative facts and I shall demonstrate that each alternative – except for the one involving negative properties – is affected by some problems. Later on, I shall (...)
  16. Seeing Dark Things, by Roy Sorensen.R. Price - 2012 - Mind 121 (483):849-852.
  17. A Short History of the Shadow.Victor Ieronim Stoichi÷tæa - 1999
  18. Part I. Beyond the Doubt of a Shadow.Samuel Todes & Charles Daniels - 1975 - In Don Ihde & Richard M. Zaner (eds.), Dialogues in Phenomenology. Martinus Nijhoff. pp. 86--93.
  19. Ladder of Shadows: Reflecting on Medieval Vestige in Provence and Languedoc. [REVIEW]Robin Vose - 2010 - The Medieval Review 12.
  20. In the Shadow of the Muses: A View of Akkadian Literature.Joan Goodnick Westenholz - 1999 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 119 (1):80.
  1. Holes and Other Superficialities by Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi. [REVIEW]D. M. Armstrong - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (11):585-586.
  2. On Metaphysical Analysis.David Braddon-Mitchell & Kristie Miller - 2015 - In Jonathan Schaffer & Barry Loewer (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to David Lewis. Wiley-Blackwell.
    Metaphysics is largely an a priori business, albeit a business that is sensitive to the findings of the physical sciences. But sometimes what the physical sciences tell us about our own world underdetermines what we should think about the metaphysics of how things actually are, and even how they could be. This chapter has two aims. The first is to defend a particular conception of the methodology of a priori metaphysics by, in part, exemplifying that methodology and revealing its results. (...)
  3. Minor Entities : Surfaces, Holes, and Shadows.Roberto Casati - 2009 - In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge.
  4. Surfaces, Holes, Shadows.Roberto Casati - 2009 - In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge. pp. 382--388.
    Minor entities provide an interesting testbed for metaphysical theories, but also for investigating the structure of concepts, as their concepts appear to be tributary of different representational systems.
  5. Holes.Roberto Casati - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  6. Holes.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A brief introduction to the main philosophical problems and theories about the nature of holes and such-like nothingnesses.
  7. Foreword to ''Lesser Kinds''.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - The Monist 90 (3):331-332.
    This issue of The Monist is devoted to the metaphysics of lesser kinds, which is to say those kinds of entity that are not generally recognized as occupying a prominent position in the categorial structure of the world. Why bother? We offer two sorts of reason. The first is methodological. In mathematics, it is common practice to study certain functions (for instance) by considering limit cases: What if x = 0? What if x is larger than any assigned value? Physics, (...)
  8. Counting the Holes.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):23 – 27.
    Argle claimed that holes supervene on their material hosts, and that every truth about holes boils down to a truth about perforated things. This may well be right, assuming holes are perforations. But we still need an explicit theory of holes to do justice to the ordinary way of counting holes--or so says Cargle.
  9. Topological Essentialism.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 100 (3):217-236.
    Considering topology as an extension of mereology, this paper analyses topological variants of mereological essentialism (the thesis that an object could not have different parts than the ones it has). In particular, we examine de dicto and de re versions of two theses: (i) that an object cannot change its external connections (e.g., adjacent objects cannot be separated), and (ii) that an object cannot change its topological genus (e.g., a doughnut cannot turn into a sphere). Stronger forms of structural essentialism, (...)
  10. Perché i buchi sono importanti. Problemi di rappresentazione spaziale.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 1997 - Sapere 63 (2):38–43.
    The methodological anarchy that characterizes much recent research in artificial intelligence and other cognitive sciences has brought into existence (sometimes resumed) a large variety of entities from a correspondingly large variety of (sometimes dubious) ontological categories. Recent work in spatial representation and reasoning is particularly indicative of this trend. Our aim in this paper is to suggest some ways of reconciling such a luxurious proliferation of entities with the sheer sobriety of good philosophy.
  11. Holes and Other Superficialities.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 1994 - MIT Press.
    Holes are a good example of the sort of entity that down-to-earth philosophers would be inclined to expel from their ontological inventory. In this work we argue instead in favor of their existence and explore the consequences of this liberality—odd as they might appear. We examine the ontology of holes, their geometry, their part-whole relations, their identity and their causal role, the ways we perceive them. We distinguish three basic kinds of holes: blind hollows, perforating tunnels, and internal cavities, treating (...)
  12. Slots in Universals.Cody Gilmore - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8:187-233.
    Slot theory is the view that (i) there exist such entities as argument places, or ‘slots’, in universals, and that (ii) a universal u is n-adic if and only if there are n slots in u. I argue that those who take properties and relations to be abundant, fine-grained, non-set-theoretical entities face pressure to be slot theorists. I note that slots permit a natural account of the notion of adicy. I then consider a series of ‘slot-free’ accounts of that notion (...)
  13. Antirealism and Holes in the World.Michael Hand - 1990 - Philosophy 65 (252):218 - 224.
  14. The Power of Holes.Daisuke Kachi - 2011 - Ontology Meeting: A Supplementary Volume for 2011, February Meeting:7-11.
    Firstly I define a hole as a dependent matter-less endurant, which is a little modification of Casati and Varzi’s definition. Adopting this definition, holes seem to invite three problems about causation: (1)causal closure, (2)ungrounded disposition and (3)causal overdetermination. I will defend my definition against all these problems by showing that holes are limiting cases of physical endurants rather than their opposition and that they have causal powers in a broad sense.
  15. Seeing Dark Things, by Roy Sorensen. New York, NY: OUP, 2008. Pp. Ix Roy Sorensen's Book, Seeing Dark Things, Begins with 'The Eclipse Riddle'. Suppose That One is Viewing In Between Oneself and the Sun Are Two Planets, One Smaller and Closer, Called. [REVIEW]Woodhouse Lane - 2012 - Mind 121:483.
  16. Casati and Varzi on Holes.David Lewis & Stephanie Lewis - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105:77-79.
  17. Review of Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi, o Les. [REVIEW]David Lewis & Stephanie Lewis - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (1):77-79.
  18. Holes.David Lewis & Stephanie Lewis - 1970 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):206 – 212.
  19. Holes and Other Superficialities.Stephanie Lewis - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (1):77-79.
  20. On Space-Time Singularities, Holes, and Extensions.John Byron Manchak - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1066-1076.
    Here, we clarify the relationship among three space-time conditions of interest: geodesic completeness, hole-freeness, and inextendibility. In addition, we introduce a related fourth condition: effective completeness.
  21. Compositional Pluralism and Composition as Identity.Kris McDaniel - 2014 - In Donald Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press.
    Let’s start with compositional pluralism. Elsewhere I’ve defended compositional pluralism, which we can provisionally understand as the doctrine that there is more than one basic parthood relation. (You might wonder what I mean by “basic”. We’ll discuss this in a bit.) On the metaphysics I currently favor, there are regions of spacetime and material objects, each of which enjoy bear a distinct parthood relation to members of their own kind. Perhaps there are other kinds of objects that enjoy a kind (...)
  22. Holes Cannot Be Counted as Immaterial Objects.Phillip John Meadows - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (4):841-852.
    In this paper I argue that the theory that holes are immaterial objects faces an objection that has traditionally been thought to be the principal difficulty with its main rival, which construes holes as material parts of material objects. Consequently, one of the principal advantages of identifying holes with immaterial objects is illusory: its apparent ease of accounting for truths about number of holes. I argue that in spite of this we should not think of holes as material parts of (...)
  23. What Angles Can Tell Us About What Holes Are Not.Phillip John Meadows - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):319-331.
    In this paper I argue that holes are not objects, but should instead be construed as properties or relations. The argument proceeds by first establishing a claim about angles: that angles are not objects, but properties or relations. It is then argued that holes and angles belong to the same category, on the grounds that they share distinctive existence and identity conditions. This provides an argument in favour of categorizing holes as one categorizes angles. I then argue that a commitment (...)
  24. Immaterial Beings.Kristie Miller - 2007 - The Monist 90 (3):349-371.
    This paper defends a view that falls somewhere between the two extremes of inflationary and deflationary accounts, and it does so by rejecting the initial conceptualisation of holes in terms of absences. Once we move away from this conception, I argue, we can see that there are no special metaphysical problems associated with holes. Rather, whatever one’s preferred metaphysics of paradigm material objects, that account can equally be applied to holes. This means that like the deflationist, I am entity monist: (...)
  25. Immaterial Beings.Kristie Miller - 2007 - The Monist 90 (3):349-371.
  26. Holes and Other Superficialities.Peter Simons - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (3):734-736.
  27. Doughnuts.Achille Varzi - manuscript
    In classical topology the only part of a doughnut that matters is the edible part. Here I review some good reasons for reversing the order and focusing on the hole instead. By studying the topology of the hole one can learn interesting things about the morphology of the doughnut (its shape), and by studying the morphology of the hole in turn one can learn a lot about the doughnut’s dynamic properties (its patterns of interaction with the environment). The price--of course--is (...)
  28. The Magic of Holes.Achille C. Varzi - forthcoming - In Pina Marsico & Luca Tateo (eds.), Ordinary Things and Their Extraordinary Meanings. Information Age Publishing.
    There is no doughnut without a hole, the saying goes. And that’s true. If you think you can come up with an exception, it simply wouldn’t be a doughnut. Holeless doughnuts are like extensionless color, or durationless sound—nonsense. Does it follow, then, that when we buy a doughnut we really purchase two sorts of thing—the edible stuff plus the little chunk of void in the middle? Surely we cannot just take the doughnut and leave the hole at the grocery store, (...)
  29. Reasoning About Space: The Hole Story.Achille C. Varzi - 1996 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 4:3-39.
    This is a revised and extended version of the formal theory of holes outlined in the Appendix to the book "Holes and Other Superficialities". The first part summarizes the basic framework (ontology, mereology, topology, morphology). The second part emphasizes its relevance to spatial reasoning and to the semantics of spatial prepositions in natural language. In particular, I discuss the semantics of ‘in’ and provide an account of such fallacious arguments as “There is a hole in the sheet. The sheet is (...)
  30. Holes as Regions of Spacetime.Andrew Wake, Joshua Spencer & Gregory Fowler - 2007 - The Monist 90 (3):372-378.
    We discuss the view that a hole is identical to the region of spacetime at which it is located. This view is more parsimonious than the view that holes are sui generus entities located at those regions surrounded by their hosts and it is more plausible than the view that there are no holes. We defend the spacetime view from several objections.
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